Judge scolds journalist for taking photos of Gwyneth Paltrow in ski collision trial courtroom

An Associated Press photographer was scolded for attempting to take pictures of Gwyneth Paltrow outside of the Utah courtroom where she is facing a trial for a skiing collision.

Judge Kent Holmberg interrupted proceedings to reiterate media decorum rules on Tuesday ahead of opening arguments in the $300,000 trial against the Oscar-winning actor and Goop founder. The lawsuit stems from a 26 February 2016 skiing crash between Ms Paltrow and retired optometrist Dr Terry Sanderson on the slopes of Flagstaff Mountain at the Deer Valley Resort.

While the judge ruled on pre-trial motions, Ms Paltrow’s attorneys complained that a photographer with the Associated Press had taken pictures of the actor in the courtroom’s foyer, where permission to photograph is not granted.

Judge Holmberg said the photographer had complied when a bailiff ordered him to delete the pictures but cautioned that such behaviour would not be allowed in the courtroom.

“I’ve talked to the AP photographer, no standing, no moving, no sound from your camera,” the judge warned.

During recess after the warning, Ms Paltrow was seen hiding her face behind a blue notebook as she exited the room.

Judge Holmberg has allowed very limited media presence during the trial. The AP photojournalist and a videographer with the CourtTV network are the only press allowed to document the proceedings — and only in the courtroom.

No live tweeting will be allowed during the hearing to minimise disruption.

Mr Sanderson, 76, filed for damages in January 2019 and is seeking $300,000 in compensation for the injuries he sustained, prompting Ms Paltrow to file a countersuit in which she asks for a symbolic $1 should she win and for her legal expenses to be covered.

Ms Paltrow was seen hiding her face behind a blue notebook as she exited the room (AFP/Getty)
Ms Paltrow was seen hiding her face behind a blue notebook as she exited the room (AFP/Getty)

The actor has called the lawsuit “a meritless claim” and “an attempt to exploit her celebrity and wealth”, insisting she “remembers what happened very clearly”.

The case finally reached trial on Tuesday 21 March, with each side arguing that the other was at fault. Judge Holmberg decided the jury will not hear arguments about a purported “hit and run” because he had reviewed enough evidence that proved Ms Paltrow stopped and made sure Mr Sanderson didn’t have any major injuries before leaving.

Terry Sanderson is suing Gwyneth Paltrow for $300,000 (AP)
Terry Sanderson is suing Gwyneth Paltrow for $300,000 (AP)

The jury will hear arguments on both sides about who had the right-of-way during the accident. Mr Sanderson claims that he was downhill and hence had the right-of-way, while Ms Paltrow claims it was the other way around.

Mr Sanderson insists that the movie star smashed into him on the slopes after racing downhill in an “out-of-control” manner, according to Court TV.

Gwyneth Paltrow faces negligence accusations (AP)
Gwyneth Paltrow faces negligence accusations (AP)

She struck him in the back with such force, he alleges, that he was left with “permanent traumatic brain injury, four broken ribs, pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress and disfigurement”.

In his complaint, the plaintiff argues that Ms Paltrow “got up, turned and skied away”, leaving him “stunned, lying in the snow, seriously injured” without summoning help.

“A Deer Valley ski instructor, who had been training Ms Paltrow, but who did not see the crash, skied over, saw the injured Sanderson and skied off, falsely accusing Sanderson of having caused the crash,” he argues.


In her countersuit, Ms Paltrow says that the instructor, Eric Christiansen did in fact, see the incident and believed she was not to blame, adding that she herself received a “full body blow” in the collision and had subsequently abandoned the day’s skiing in distress.

Ms Paltrow’s children Apple and Moses Martin, who were 11 and 9 at the time of the accident, are expected to testify.

Her television writer husband Brad Falchuk will also take the stand.